Firefighters and Grenfell Survivors express thanks for Cornish Generosity
Falmouth businesses have responded quickly to Cornwall Hugs Grenfell’s appeal earlier this month for offers of activities and treats.
The 50+ Grenfell guests due shortly to the port will stay on the Penryn campus thanks to the generosity of Falmouth University and the University of Exeter. They will be offered a programme of optional entertainments including river trips thanks to FirstKernow and FalRiver’s free passes, ice-creams at Swanpool Beach Café, cream teas at Cavendish Coffee House and a trip to TD Dale & Son’s Farm to ride a combine harvester and meet the animals!
In addition, a full day’s water-sports is planned, thanks to adventure holiday specialist ElementalUK, followed by Fish & Chips to refuel, courtesy of Harbour Lights. More water-fun will be had at Ships & Castles and The Natural Play Garden will offer children’s play sessions.
For adults, seeking relaxation, The Beauty Room has offered treatments. OTS and Plymouth CityBus are helping with local trips and finally, for the train ride home, Picnic Cornwall will provide delicious lunch boxes.
‘Falmouth really does it with heart and flair,’ said Esmé Page, the founder of Cornwall Hugs Grenfell.
‘The group includes 26 children, all of whom will have lost friends, neighbours or relatives and have lived in temporary accommodation since the fire. We couldn’t help them make new memories without the generosity of these local businesses,’ she concluded.
‘I’m particularly grateful to Danny Duncan, managing director, ElementalUK who not only pledged a day’s water-sport activities but also got on the phone to other businesses encouraging them to join the vision. Kindness is catching in Falmouth!’ said Esmé Page.
Cornwall Hugs Grenfell is still urgently looking for support from local supermarkets for grocery vouchers as well as more coach support. Businesses can pledge at: www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org or email Esmé Page on cornwallhugsgrenfell.org.
‘As soon as we heard about the group trip to Falmouth we wanted to get on board,’ said Danny Duncan, ElementalUK, ‘Giving youngsters those ‘first’ time water-sport experiences and seeing that ‘I can do it’ smile on their faces is exactly what we’re about.’
#Hugsnothate – comments show how vital these breaks are
Meanwhile, following abusive online comments directed at Grenfell survivors taking up holidays, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell launched a #hugsnothate appeal. Esmé Page, speaking with Vanessa Feltz on the BBC London Radio’s Breakfast called for listeners to drown out the trolls and show Grenfell survivors how supported they are. The appeal prompted a flood of heartfelt holiday wishes and support from Cornwall and beyond.
Fire-fighters and Grenfell survivors leave no doubt as to how important these holidays are. The wife of one firefighter coming on holiday through Cornwall Hugs Grenfell wrote, ’When something of the terrible magnitude of the Grenfell Fire happens right in front of your very eyes, with all of the horrors that transpired; not on a TV screen, or in the pages of a newspaper but right there in the flesh before you; with all of the sounds and the smells; unless you experience it personally, you really cannot comprehend the terrible effect it has on everyone present. In the aftermath, in the midst of all the devastation and grief and pain, Cornwall Hugs Grenfell has said to the people suffering, “we see your pain and hurt, come and stay with us for awhile, it’s beautiful here; take some time away and don’t worry about anything, we will look after you”…It’s just amazing and we have been so touched. I know we will speak for everyone in London who has become involved with your project when I tell you how very much we have been blown away by Cornwall’s generosity and appreciate so much the peace and respite you have offered to us and all the people in need here. We will never forget it.’
Another firefighter who recently holidayed near Falmouth, shared. ‘‘It’s meant a lot to my family and I as although the intention was to forget about what happened, it actually helped me talk about how I feel about the situation as we were in such a lovely area that it felt relaxing and peaceful. It’s not often that the work we do seems to be even noticed, so this makes us feel like we are appreciated,’
Grenfell residents too have expressed just why the chance to get away to Cornwall is so important to them at this time, ‘So we can go away and not be in the locality of Grenfell tower. It will also allow the children time away from the confines of the hotel and keep them busy. A different setting might allow my daughter to not have any sleep terrors at night,’ said one Grenfell Tower mum.
‘It’s a terrific opportunity for families to get away after this horrific tragedy,’ said another Grenfell mum. ‘My daughter has really been traumatised and I hope getting far away where the tower is out of sight I think will do her wellbeing a lot of good,’ shared another.
‘Talking with the mums this week,’ said Esmé Page, ‘I’m so struck by their courage and resilience. However, the last nine weeks have been exhausting as they try to secure housing and recreate the basic structure of day to day life, quite apart from the trauma and loss they’ve experienced. They just need a break. I’m so grateful to the Cornish property owners, local transport and businesses that are enabling us to offer this to them.’
Half-term Trip Accommodation Needed Urgently
The Falmouth group trip has been oversubscribed and Cornwall Hugs Grenfell is calling for property owners to pledge the October 20th half-term week to enable the project to put together a trip for those who could not get a place on the August holiday. Cornwall Hugs Grenfell is very keen to hear from large accommodation providers such as caravan parks or lodges who may be willing to offer 5-10 units in one place for this half-term trip. Individual properties are also invited to pledge at www.cornwallhugsgrenfell.org and those who have already pledged should indicate their desire to join the half-term offering via firstname.lastname@example.org. Properties where visitors don’t need a car are particularly sought after.
Much needed monetary donations are invited to help CHG reach its £5000 target via: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cornwallhugsgrenfellphase2